Christine de Fortier
How much weight have you lost on your journey so far?
What do you do? [Job]
Teacher and part-time lecturer.
What else do you do? [Hobbies, non-work stuff, etc]
I’m a mom of 4, so not much time for hobbies!
YOU AND SLEEKGEEK
How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?
How did you find Sleekgeek?
Through a friend on Facebook.
What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?
The positivity and support. I like that every victory is acknowledged and that every single person is supported. I have rarely seen a negative comment.
Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation. How did you get there and what were you like?
I was always naturally thin as a teenager. I never had to worry about what I ate or if and when I exercised – in fact, I had always eaten quite a lot and I have an insatiable sweet tooth, without consequences. Until pregnancy. When breastfeeding, most of the ‘baby fat’ melted away quite easily, but my metabolism changed significantly. I picked up weight without noticing. I am 1,76m tall so I gain or loose 5kg without anybody noticing.
My pre-pregnancy weight was 65kg (a bit on the skinny side for me), so when I hit 85kg in 2018 I had to have a reality check. The ‘old me’ ate without thinking, loved snacking, enjoyed a gin and tonic with all the trimmings, and never said no to sugar. I work at a pre-primary school, so birthday cupcakes and baking treats are a regular occurrence. And I ate them all. I used my kids as an excuse not to exercise and this, of course, did not help!
What ignited your initial motivation to change?
I attended my sister’s wedding in 2018 and when I saw myself in the photos I got a big fright. I barely recognized myself. My arms were bigger than I had thought, I had a double chin and my belly had reached a point where people regularly asked me if I was pregnant! My self-esteem took a big knock.
What are some of the things that the new you does differently now?
I adopted the intermittent fasting lifestyle. I fast a minimum of 16 hours daily. I don’t eat cupcakes at school anymore. I had to become aware of licking spoons and sampling any food that appeared in front of me. I also don’t eat after 19:00 anymore. I started running again, which I have always loved. I even entered the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon for 2019. And then covid hit. But, I completed the Mzanzi Virtual Lockdown Marathon by running circles in my garden. Staying active truly saved my sanity during lockdown.
What are some of the things that the new you still struggles with?
I am now much better with eating, but exercise remains challenging. Motivating myself to be active when I am tired can be a massive struggle.
If you could give yourself 1 piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?
I’d have to tell myself that I know exactly how good I feel once the exercise is over!
Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backwards a bit on your journey?
Oh absolutely, yes! It’s very hard to break old habits. I have also hit multiple plateaus and then it is necessary to change my fasting hours or get more active, even drinking more water has shaken me out of a plateau. It’s dreadfully disheartening when the scale simply won’t move or even when I pick up 3kg that just seem to appear out of nowhere!
What is better since you got healthy?
My blood pressure has returned to normal, my energy level is up and my self-esteem skyrocketed when people stopped asking if I was pregnant and rather started asking what I was doing to look so good!
What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]
I love running, but I have really learned to appreciate weight training. It took a while to realize that weight training won’t make me look like a man! It’ll actually help me run better and makes my body stronger.
How long have you been training and how did you get started?
I started in late 2018 and I joined a private gym with a personal trainer (I needed help and motivation as well as an eating plan!) and started doing daily group sessions. Once I was stronger, I shifted back to running, with occasional weight training. I am currently nowhere near as active as I would like to be. I walk, and reach my daily step goal, but it is certainly time to change things up again and rejoin the 5am crew!
What does your typical workout look like?
I love any workout that I can fit into in less than an hour. Any type of HIIT training, Tabatas, or organized group classes are great, because then I follow a plan and don’t have to think too much.
Favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Least favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
How does exercise make you feel?
De-stressed, energised, and motivated.
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
I am able to do both, it really depends on my mood or the day. In the beginning group training sessions with a personal trainer were great as the competition motivated me. When running I like joining a ‘bus’ to help my pacing, but I generally stay quite isolated within that group.
Most embarrassing training moment?
Oh my, probably falling while running, I grazed my knees and it was so sore!
Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag?
My water bottle, and a towel.
Your next training goal?
Get back into a good rhythm, wake up early and gain back strength that I have lost.
Top 5 songs on your training playlist?
- Dance monkey – Tones and I (gets me in a good mood immediately!)
- Me too – Meghan Trainor (just love this one!)
- Remember the name – Fort Minor
- The business – Tiesto
- ‘Til I collapse – Eminem
How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]
I lost the weight I was carrying, which had a massive impact on my self-esteem. Exercise also really helps to keep my anxiety at bay and then I also sleep much better.
What’s your favourite meal?
A medium-rare steak and a baked potato!
OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?
I absolutely love creative salads. Adding things such as chickpeas or raw grated beetroot keeps salad interesting. I love using different textures and colours. Add a good protein and your fats and a giant salad is a wonderful meal.
What’s your nutrition philosophy / approach? [If you have one]
Intermittent fasting has been an absolute game changer for me. I fast 16 hours and eat for 8. I stop eating at 19:00 and then only eat after 11:00. This, and 2.5 – 3 liters of water a day.
How many meals a day do you eat?
Only 2. First one around 11 am and then 6pm. I listen to my body though and when I’m hungry I eat. I’m not overly militaristic with myself and will be flexible around social situations. Tomorrow is always another day.
Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?
What I mentioned above. I love food, and I do not want to be held captive by restrictive eating. Within moderation, I will enjoy a treat. I have never set an actual strategy for this.
Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?
Running my first marathon. I didn’t finish in time to receive a medal. But I didn’t stop till the end. I learned a lot that day.
Not a quote, but the word I have tattooed on my right forearm – Persevere.
Keeping it as simple as one word. All I need to do is look down and I am reminded to persevere. In all areas of my life.
I love reading, I don’t have just one favourite.
What inspires and motivates you?
Being a good example for my kids. I cannot expect them to live healthy and active lives if I don’t do the same. I also want to be around to meet my great-grandchildren one day!
For what are you most grateful?
For good health. This is something to never take for granted.
What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start?
Don’t wait for next month, summer or Monday. It is hard to break bad habits, yes, but it is so incredibly worth it. I cannot even begin to explain how my self-esteem was impacted when people started noticing that I was “doing something”. When people started asking me what I was doing I realised that they were being inspired to try too. It takes time, patience and perseverance, but you owe it to yourself to be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be.
What are your top 5 tips for anyone starting on a healthy journey?
- If you have a bad day, try again tomorrow – we are all human and bad days are normal.
- Compete against yourself. Other people inspire us, but ultimately, we are aiming to improve ourselves.
- Drink enough water! It changes everything.
- You don’t have to go to a gym or spend loads of money. Bodyweight exercises at home using youtube vidoes work too!
- Remember to take progress photos. I always forget this and always wish I had more.